Many cigar smokers say they have increased their tobacco use during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to an online survey.
The survey of almost 800 cigar smokers found 40.9% said they increased their tobacco use since the pandemic started, while 17.8% said they decreased their tobacco use.
“We are not sure why many participants reported increasing their tobacco use, but it is possible that they are stressed or anxious, they are bored at home, they stockpiled tobacco products in advance of sheltering-in-place orders, or they are not able to easily access evidence-based cessation resources like pharmacotherapy or behavioral support,” University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researcher Sarah Kowitt PhD, MPH, said in a news release.
Kowitt said the findings were concerning “because cigar use is associated with multiple cancers and other health effects.”
Almost half of the survey respondents said they had tried to quit smoking since the pandemic began, and 70.8% were planning on quitting within six months, the researchers report in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.